Saturday, September 30, 2006
Today would have been Truman's Capote's 82nd birthday. I think there is no author that I can think of who was more of a character than any writer ever could be. At one time, Capote's photographic memory allowed him to interview people and retain verbatim 94% of the entire conversation-- word for word! Now that is pretty amazing. But more importantly than that was just how amazing this man could put words together. The picture of his youth shown here was one of the most controversial when it was published along with reviews of his materials in 1948. Truman was born in New Orleans as Truman Streckfus Persons in 1924. His father and mother (who was only 17 at the time) divorced four years later and Truman was sent to Monroeville, Alabama to be raised by relatives. When his mother remarried, his step father adopted him and he was renamed Truman Garcia Capote. As a lonely child, Truman taught himself to read before the first grade. He began writing when he was eight years old. When he was ten, his short story "Old Mr. Busybody" won an award. When he was eleven he began writing seriously in daily three hour sessions. When he was 17, Truman completed his formal education and rejected the notion of going to college saying "I was determined to never set a studious foot inside a college classroom. I felt that one WAS or WAS NOT a writer and no combination of professors could influence the outcome". Of course, he is best known for his novels "In Cold Blood" and "Breakfast At Tiffany's" and his "Christmas Memory" was a classic in its own right! Twenty films and TV dramas and one Broadway musical ("House of Flowers") has been taken from his writings. The Random House publisher Bennett Cerf gave Truman his first advance in 1946 and the result was the novel "Other Voices, Other Rooms" Capote stood at Five foot two and was openly gay when it was common among artists but rarely talked about. One of his first serious lovers was Newton Arvin, a professor of literature at Smith College, famous for his unique biography of Herman Melville ("Moby Dick" etc) Poor Truman claimed to know people he had never met such as Greta Garbo and bragged that he had an affair with Errol Flynn. He had a famous friendship with icon classic artist Andy Warhol-- who had a crush on him! His addiction to cocaine in the 1980's is what did him in. But all in all what a character and very fine author he was. God love you, Truman. I hope at last you have found your peace! Today also is the day that dear Mae West was cleared of obscenity charges by a hung jury in 1934. Atta girl, Mae! Tim and I were presented an opprtunity with the Sierra Madre Theatre to have a first production of "Traveling Companion" so that is very exciting and we both of us will work on making this a reality in early 2007. It turns out that some of the people there worked with the actors and actresses I knew at the San Gabriel Little Theatre back in the 1960's. Those were amazing days for me and provided me the background for working in theatre today. I remember dear Elizabeth Gregory, (she was the best) John Higgins,( I truly loved this man) George Von Ravensburg and Jay Buck to name a few and of course Toni Perrine who was so helpful in producing a later play of mine called "Irish Leftovers" Everything now comes from something way back when.